Sarah Grant

Thesis title:

The CENSSAS Study: Investigating Associations Between CENtral Sensitivity Syndromes and the Autism Spectrum


Recent research into physical health in autism has identified that autistic people are more likely to experience chronic disease, premature mortality and poorer health outcomes (Hirvikoski et al., 2016; Jones et al., 2016, Rydzewska et al., 2019).

It appears that autistic people, particularly females, might be more likely to suffer from health conditions that have ‘central sensitisation’ as a core component. These conditions have been termed ‘central sensitivity syndromes’ (Yunus 2008) and include fibromyalgia, ME/chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and a number of others.

The CENSSAS study aims to explore whether central sensitivity syndromes (CSS) and autism are associated with each other, to look closer at symptoms related to both autism and CSS, such as sensory sensitivity and anxiety, and think about how and why they might be related, and to raise awareness of the lived experience of autistic people with chronic health conditions under the CSS umbrella.

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First supervisor:

Rosa Hoekstra


2 – Life Course, Psychology, & Health